After a short set by support act Andy Shauf, the venue had become steadily busier and the buzz in the crowd was unmistakeable as excitement built in anticipation of the much-loved, Colorado based folk-rock band.
The lights dimmed and The Lumineers bounded onto the stage wearing their signature get-up; front-man Wesley Schultz in his simple button-up shirt and drummer Jeremiah Fraites in smart braces and a black trilby hat. The band immediately kicked off with ‘Sleep on the Floor’ – the opening track of Cleopatra – which was met with cheers of delight from the audience.
Following this was the namesake of their second studio album, the distinctive stomping beat making it pretty much impossible to remain standing still. The uplifting energy that The Lumineers radiated was soon mirrored by the crowd, and after belting out a few more first-rate tracks, the band launched into one of their most acclaimed songs, ‘Ho Hey’. As soon as the stomp of the familiar beat and tambourine percussion began, I was overwhelmed with excitement. The track sounded just as incredible live as it does in the original studio version and, by the chorus, the power of the audience had drowned out the voices of the band, and lead-singer Wesley Schultz stepped back from the microphone to hear the united chants of “I belong with you / you belong with me / you’re my sweetheart”.
Leaving the audience almost unable to catch their breath from the exhilaration of ‘Ho Hey’, The Lumineers proceeded with ‘Ophelia’, the lead single from Cleopatra and another of their more well-known tracks. The bright, elegant piano melody was executed perfectly and the raw talent of the band shined through, their harmonies faultless and their on-stage presence remarkable.
The Lumineers moved onto other high-quality tracks such as ‘Dead Sea’ and ‘Charlie Boy’ before treating the audience to a heartfelt performance of ‘Angela’. The beautiful simplicity of the song was touching and everything came together perfectly, from the vocals laced with emotion to the smooth, calming sound of the cello performed beautifully by Neyla Pekarek. To my delight, following this was one of my personal favourites; ‘Flowers in Your Hair’. It’s through heart-warming, feel-good songs like these that The Lumineers demonstrate their ability to come across as storytellers as well as musicians.
Next up was a brilliantly energetic rendition of Bob Dylan’s ‘Subterranean Homesick Blues’. The band’s enthusiasm on stage was superb and the fast-paced, liveliness of the song matched with the stimulating, manic use of the piano that was apparent throughout ensured that no one was left stood still. The crowd’s cheers were overpowering which resulted in Wesley Schultz remarking that Brixton was the “loudest crowd of the tour so far”.
Time seemed to fly by and before we knew it, The Lumineers were down to their last couple of songs. Of course, the set would not have been complete without ‘Stubborn Love’, which was saved until the very end, and was met with an overwhelming response from the crowd. The effect that the band had on their audience was elevating – there is something very magical about being amongst hundreds of people all singing the same lyrics and radiating the same positive vibe.
Although the bands’ interaction with the crowd between songs was minimal, Wesley Schultz humbly thanked the audience a number of times and declared that it was an “honour” to be performing there, a remark that one could tell was as sincere and heartfelt as the words of their warm-hearted songs.
With Brixton O2 Academy holding a capacity of nearly 5,000, it would’ve been easy to have felt somewhat distanced from the band, however, The Lumineers’ ability to connect so personally with their audience through their songs allowed the show to feel quite intimate regardless of the size of the venue.
As a whole, the gig was incredibly uplifting and thoroughly enjoyable. I left wishing I could re-live it all over again and because of this, I can surely say that no Lumineers’ fan was left unsatisfied.
Words by Sarah Turner